Combating The Chill Factor

Outdoor training during the winter months. What an oxymoron.

A battle with the mind to put on the sports gear, tie up the laces, and head out the door.

Once out of the comfortable cocoon of your house, it soon gets better.

An Elite OCR athletes like Dominique D’Oliveira experiences this just as much as everyone else, because gnarly winter conditions spare no one.

The Cape Town-based obstacle machine has taken a few moments to share with us her take on the winter chill; keeping warm, enjoyment moments, challenges, and all wrapped up with a bit of advice.


Top issue that winter causes you?

I often lack motivation to train outside in the cold, (sometimes windy and rainy) weather. The days are also shorter so some sessions need to be done in the dark.


How do you combat this?

Some of my training sessions are done with other people… so even if we don’t do the same workout, it helps knowing that there is someone out suffering in the cold with you. It gets you out of bed and to the gym/trails – that’s the hardest part. Once you get going it’s really not that bad.


Good winter food; when training/racing, and day to day.

Homemade soup! So easy to make and super nutritious… helps to beat the cold and is great for boosting the immune system too.

For on-the-go refueling I make Wazoogles shakes and munch on Superbars.


Must-have items of clothing for winter.

Gloves! Especially for obstacle sessions… I don’t do my grip sessions with the gloves on but I keep them on while warming up to try keep my hands warm for as long as possible. Cold hands = no grip!

A buff is also a useful item to have while training… I use mine as a scarf or beanie, or for wiping wet monkey bars.


What do you do to best avoid bugs and flu during the colder months?

I mostly try to keep my immune system strong by eating the right foods (plenty of fruits and veggies) and getting enough sleep but this isn’t always easy and sometimes those bugs and viruses do creep in. If that happens, and I feel an infection coming on, I back off of training for a day or two (or as long as it takes me to feel “normal” again) and I try listen to my body as best as I can. Training through an illness is a REALLY BAD IDEA (I’ve made that mistake before!)! You are better off taking a few days off while letting your body recuperate rather than suffering through a few weeks or months of unproductive training or worse – ending up in hospital!


What do you like about winter training?

I get to sleep a little later on weekends (training is usually done super early in summer in order to beat the heat of the day).

To be honest I’m a bigger fan of the summer, but our winters are fortunately not THAT cold. We’re very lucky to live in a place with a pretty balanced climate.


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